British utility SSE has said it is on track with construction of a €331m ($449m) combined cycle gas turbine power plant in Ireland – the biggest infrastructure project currently being built in the country.

The Great Island power plant (pictured) in County Wexford is set to go operational late next year and will be able to power the equivalent of half a million homes.

As part of the project, SSE is spending €43m on delivering a 41km industrial-grade gas pipeline from Bawnlusk, County Kilkenny, through Gaslink and Bord Gais Networks into the heart of southeast Ireland, which currently has no access to such strategic gas infrastructure.

SSE says that “while this gas pipeline will be used to fuel the CCGT power station, it has been purposely over-sized to accommodate regional development in the future”.

Peter Gavican, SSE’s project manager for Great Island, said the plant “will be a critical component to attracting future inward investment into the region”.

“For the first time businesses and large industrials in south Wexford will have access to an industrial-grade natural gas network,” he said.

“This will help accommodate further regional development and provide access by businesses and larger manufacturing industrials to a cleaner, more convenient and more economic fuel source. Most importantly it will significantly improve the attractiveness of the region for inward investment by larger manufacturers and multinationals.”